For many decades, asbestos was used for flooring, roofing, and insulation in buildings across the United States. In fact, many of these buildings are still in use today. The workers who built these structures were routinely exposed to asbestos on the job. When these fibers enter the lungs, they can become lodged, resulting in scarring and inflammation. Over time, they can lead to serious asbestos-related illnesses, such as mesothelioma.
Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to identify symptoms of mesothelioma before the disease has begun to develop. The signs of asbestos-related illnesses are easily confused with those of other ailments. What are some common signs of asbestos poisoning?
Shortness of Breath
After a person inhales asbestos fibers, scar tissue may begin to form in their lungs. As time goes on, the scar tissue will replace more of the person’s normal lung tissue. An excessive amount may impair lung functionality, often in the form of shortness of breath.
Inflammation in the lungs can result in wheezing — a whistlinglike sound that’s especially noticeable in deep breaths. If you are a nonsmoker and have no history of asthma, this can be an especially troubling sign of asbestos exposure.
Mesothelioma tumors can lead to fatigue by using up energy as they grow. This leaves fewer resources for the rest of the body. Often, fatigue goes together with difficulty breathing.
Chest and Abdominal Pain
Compounding the issue of extreme fatigue, mesothelioma patients often experience pain in their chest or abdomen, making it more difficult to rest.
A persistent dry cough is a common symptom of asbestos poisoning. Dry coughing tends to occur in the early stages of mesothelioma cancer and worsen as the disease progresses.